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Derby vs Manchester United – Match Preview

Derby head coach Paul Clement has no fresh injury concerns.

Long-term absentees Max Lowe, Craig Forsyth and Will Hughes remain unavailable.

Midfielder Michael Carrick could return for Manchester United after four games out with a knee injury.

Defender Matteo Darmian is ruled out having been hospitalised with a rib injury last weekend, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phil Jones remain sidelined.

Editor’s Note: So here we go again, is Louis Van Gaal one game away from the sack? (it’s getting a bit boring asking this question to be honest). According to Van Gaal this is the 4th time this season in which his job is on the line and this time he has to overcome a potential F.A. Cup Banana Skin in the form of Derby County

Last weekend saw United lose at home to Southampton and a vociferous chorus of boos ring round Old Trafford, the striking thing was that these boos were ringing when Charlie Austin scored what proved to be the winner after coming off the bench. These boos weren’t even saved for Full Time.

In the 3rd Round United made incredibly hard work in beating Sheffield United, a victory which left more questions than answers about the team’s current performances. A win a fortnight ago over Liverpool seemingly papered over the cracks but they reverted to type in last week’s home defeat, one that now leaves them 5 points behind Spurs in the race for a Champions League position.

What can you say about United that hasn’t already been said this season, a lack of goals from Wayne Rooney, no creativity in Midfield, square pegs in round holes, sideways passing, dour safety first Football. These are all very valid criticisms that have been volleyed towards Van Gaal ones that he hasn’t got too much of an argument against. It’s all very well being pragmatic if it gets you results but that’s where United have been falling down, it’s negative Football and negative results

The F.A Cup is United’s only realistic chance of winning silverware so Tonight could be a welcome distraction from the League campaign but on the other hand Derby could compound Louis Van Gaal’s misery even further. The Championship side were on the other end of a 4-1 thumping to fellow Promotion chasers Burnley on Monday, so Paul Clement will be hoping his side can bounce back from that in the best possible way and dish out a Cup Giantkilling at The IPro Stadium

The Rams are at full strength and Paul Clement will be putting the promotion hopes to one side as he looks to mastermind a cup scalp. His Derby side currently sit 5th in the Championship and 6 points off an automatic spot. I would be surprised if Van Gaal doesn’t put his full strength side out tonight (then again what is full strength lately, this is a game where he can’t afford to take any risks.

Quite simply this is a game United and more importantly Van Gaal has to win. Logic would dictate that United being a Premier League side should go on and win this but the F.A. Cup isn’t a fan of logic. I’ll put my money on The Red Devils but I’m not expecting it back, a tight away win for me.


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